The police were called in on the orders of the local prefect, Nicolas Deiss, who issued a statement to the protesters on Thursday in which he ordered them to vacate the church by 11am on Friday or risk being evicted by the authorities.
By Friday morning, after it became clear that the protesters would not be leaving the church of their own accord, Deiss appeared on the scene to announce that he had handed over authority to the police to begin an "evacuation operation".
But at midday, there had been no reports of police intervention or signs that the protesters were preparing to leave.
Swissinfo with agencies
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